Adrienne, RAJ/RNS, and Brother John have been doing the heavy lifting on reporting what goes on in Honduras. Today, RNS tipped me to the fact that a whole bunch of Honduran cables have come out on Wikileaks. There are no stunning revelations, but just a continued filling in of the picture of what was going on before and after the coup.
Added, 1/31: Adrienne links to El Pais on Wikileaks here and here. The former adds a piece of history from earlier cables, namely that the Chamber of Commerce rep. equated membership in ALBA to the whole country being communist. The latter mentions that, contrary to Llorens’ advice, the leadership of the military has continued in the hands of coup participants. I read that as a suggestion that the US military may be sidestepping the State Department in running foreign policy. A dangerous sign, indeed.
Added 2/1: As one might predict, Zelaya has been forced to respond the the implication that he served as a “double agent” (as El Pais put it) in transmitting the US draft on Cuba without mentioning where it came from, not to mention the Honduran response on the US demand that the FARC be labeled terrorists (Basically, they aren’t here, so who cares? But if you say they’re terrorists, well, by golly, yes sir!). Rather than simply say that this is the kind of crap that a small country has to do to survive, Zelaya dances around it, and says, basically, well, look, we got the US to rescind a 40-year old unjust policy arbitrarily excluding Cuba from the OAS. And, yes, now Cuba is excluded because it quite reasonably refuses to subscribe to the OAS charter, given that the OAS has, contrary to its own charter, gone along with the ridiculous US policy toward Cuba (see this article to see that I am not the only cynic in this regard). Such is what we call progress.
06TEGUCIGALPA526, 3/16/2006 is by Ambassador Ford who, two years later, would call Zelaya “not a friend” of the US, and deride him as a mendacious juvenile. Here, the tone is different, but clearly dismissive. Zelaya is “clearly a friend of the USG” and had helped with CAFTA and counter-narcotics, as well as working with the Pentagon. But, Ford complains that crime has apparently risen, immigration reform was going slow, and economic policy–especially regarding nationalization of fuel– is not to Ford’s liking. It contains this amazing line: “[Former president, owner of La Tribuna, and oligarch Carlos Roberto] Flores [Facusse] emphasized to Zelaya that aside from political considerations in his party, the only people a Honduran President needed to consult with were Roman Catholic Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez and the American Ambassador.” This puts in context the Ford’s negative comment that, “at public events with key officials present, Zelaya will make clear that anyone interested in becoming President of the country needs first to get the blessing of the American Ambassador.”
08TEGUCIGALPA86, 1/28/08 is by Ford. It calls the purchase of oil for electrical generation from Venezuela “political theater,” and mentions Micheletti’s opposition. Absent any evidence whatsoever, Ford says he suspects that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has demanded as a political price that Honduras not label the FARC a terrorist organization. In 08TEGUCIGALPA89, 1/28 Ford explains that sources inside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told him that Chavez asked Zelaya “to either remove the FARC from any terrorist lists or publicly acknowledge it as not being a terrorist organization”
09TEGUCIGALPA431, 6/8/09 is from the period just before the coup and reinforces the sense that Ambassador Hugo Llorens is oblivious of the impending coup. He says that Zelaya “shared details…on his negotiations with ALBA [the Bolivaran Alternative organization, whose mainstay is Venezuela] members and Cuba over the negotiations on Cuba at the Organization of American States General Assembly in San Pedro Sula June 2 and 3,” praised Hillary Clinton for making a proposal to bring Cuba into the OAS if it would abide by OAS principles. It makes clear that Zelaya is supporting the US against the more radical ALBA. “Zelaya successfully pressured ALBA to accept our text. … Zelaya wants good relations with the new administration and wanted her [Hillary's] visit to be successful. Zelaya kept his word to us on not allowing any of the ALBA presidents to speak.”
10TEGUCIGALPA2, 1/5/10 describes Llorens’ meeting with Pretendisent-select Porfirio Lobo. It’s notable for the lack of affect, given that there has been a coup, dozens of deaths, an international uproar, an embassy held hostage, and Micheletti is continuing to thumb his nose at the US. There are phrases like, “the USG appreciated Lobo’s parallel interest in resolving the political crisis,” “Washington was not inclined to look favorably on Micheletti waiting until the last days before the inauguration to step aside,” and “[Llorens and Lobo] agreed that what had taken place was a failure of political leadership by President Jose Manuel “Mel” Zelaya in the months leading up to the June coup, as well as Micheletti and other institutions in supporting the coup.” See? No violations of international law or human rights, just a regrettable incident in an otherwise pleasant relationship.
10TEGUCIGALPA16, 1/8/10 reports that the Public Ministry has filed charges against high military officials for kidnapping Zelaya. This, of course, went nowhere, as all involved surely knew.
10TEGUCIGALPA65, 1/26/10 is a perfect example of how the Secret classification is used to protect the US (and foreign governments) from embarrassment. It quotes Lobo as saying that Dominican Republic President Lionel Fernandez is a “real operator,” says that the US got Cesar Ham to join the Lobo government as a representative of the opposition so that Lobo’s government could be called a unity government as required by the nations of the world to readmit Honduras to their membership. Surprisingly, Zelaya says he also urged Ham to join the government–this will probably not win him friends in the Resistance, which needed to maintain unity to underline just how unrepresentative Lobo’s government was.
10TEGUCIGALPA143, 2/17/10 Lllorens tells Lobo that he needs to get the military who were coup participants [Generals Vasquez Velasquez and Garcia Padgett] to step down “to make clear strong civilian control of the military.” Of course, the cable makes it clear that the US embassy exerts complete control over the Honduran government which has this strong control over the military.
10TEGUCIGALPA160, 2/20/10 has to do with a corrupt deal by the Micheletti administration with regard to “Jose Cecilio del Valle dam and hydroelectric plant near Nacaome.” This involved falsification of the official publication La Gazeta by printing one set of copies with the announcement of the concession to “Italian Industrial Agency S.R.L. and B&P Altolumie SNS, and the Honduran firms Hidrocontrol S.A ” and a second set, made public, in which the announcement didn’t appear.
In other news, Adrienne reports that a web page reporting on human rights is up at: http://hondurashumanrights.wordpress.com/. Also see the Honduras Accompaniment Project: http://friendshipamericas.org/honduras
* Bill Quigley (with Pam Spees) of the CCR has published a piece at HuffPo. Short on specifics, alas, but Spees has moved to Honduras, so perhaps CCR will start building the case files for eventual prosecutions.
*Jeremy Kryt has a piece in In These Times, analyzing the Wikileaks cables.
* Also, violent evictions in Tocoa. Members of the Buenos Amigos community are being held and perhaps tortured.
As usual, there’s far more, which I don’t have time for.